South Korea Road Network

By | December 11, 2022

According to wholevehicles, South Korea has a road network of 87,000 kilometers, of which 65,000 kilometers are paved. National roads cover 12,447 kilometers, and there is a highway network of 5,003 kilometers in length, which is continuously being expanded. Almost all highways are toll roads and serve all parts of the country.

Motorways

South Korea’s highway network.

South Korea has a fairly extensive highway network that connects all major cities and regions of the country, only in the northeast are fewer highways because this area is mountainous and sparsely populated. Highways around the major cities often have 2×3 to 2×5 lanes. Virtually all highways are toll roads, often under concession. Most highways have both a number and name. The highways regularly have large service stations with many facilities, even on highways with low traffic volumes.

List of expressways

# No. Name Route Length
Expressway 1 Gyeongbu Expressway Busan – Daegu – Daejeon – Cheonan – Seoul 416 km
Expressway 10 Namhae Expressway Yeongnam – Gwangyang – Jinju – Changwon – Busan 277 km
Expressway 12 Gwangju – Daegu Expressway Muan – Gwangju – Daegu 225 km
Expressway 14 Hamyang – Ulsan Expressway Hamyang – Changnyeong – Miryang – Ulsan 145 km
Expressway 15 Seoul Expressway Mokpo – Gunsan – Pyeongtaek – Ansan – Seoul 341 km
Expressway 16 Ulsan Expressway Eonyang – Ulsan 14 km
Expressway 17 Pyeongtaek – Suwon – Seoul – Naepo 110 km
Expressway 20 Iksan-Pohang Expressway / Saemangeum Port Expressway Iksan – Jangsu / Daegu – Pohang 129 km
Expressway 25 Honam Expressway Suncheon – Jeonju – Nonsan – Cheonan 275 km
Expressway 27 Suncheon Expressway Suncheon – Jeonju 118 km
Expressway 29 Sejong – Pocheon Expressway Sejong – Seoul – Pocheon 51 km
Expressway 30 Dangjin – Yeongdeok Expressway Dangjin – Gongju – Daejeon – Cheongju – Yeongdeok 287 km
Expressway 32 Asan – Cheongju Expressway Asan – Cheongju 49 km
Expressway 35 Central Expressway Tongyeong – Jinju – Daejeon – Cheongju – Seoul 365 km
Expressway 37 Second Central Expressway Icheon – Seoul 31 km
Expressway 40 Pyeongtaek – Jecheon Expressway Pyeongtaek – Anseong – Chungju – Jecheon 127 km
Expressway 45 Jungbu-Naeryuk Expressway Naeseo – Seongju – Sangju – Chungju – Yangpyeong 293 km
Expressway 50 Yeongdong Expressway Incheon – Ansan – Suwon – Yeoju – Pyeongchang – Gangneung 234 km
Expressway 52 Gwangju – Wonju Expressway Gwangju – Yeoju – Wonju 60 km
Expressway 55 Jungang Expressway Busan – Miryang – Daegu – Uiseong – Danyang – Jecheon – Chuncheon 370 km
Expressway 60 Seoul – Yangyang Expressway Seoul – Chuncheon – Hongcheon – Inje – Yangyang 151 km
Expressway 65 Donghae Expressway Busan – Ulsan – Gyeongju – Samcheok – Gangneung – Yangyang – Sokcho 223 km
Expressway 100 Seoul Ring Expressway 128 km
Expressway 102 Namhae Expressway 1st Branch Masan – Changwon 18 km
Expressway 104 Namhae Expressway 2nd Branch Gimhae – Busan 21 km
Expressway 105 Namhae Expressway 3rd Branch Jinhae – Gimhae 15 km
Expressway 110 Second Gyeongin Expressway Incheon Airport – Incheon – Seoul – Yeosu 72 km
Expressway 120 Gyeongin Expressway Incheon – Seoul 24 km
Expressway 130 Incheon International Airport Expressway Incheon Airport – Incheon – Seoul 40 km
Expressway 151 Seocheon – Gongju Expressway Seocheon – Buyeo – Gongju 61 km
Expressway 153 Pyeongtaek – Siheung Expressway Pyeongtaek – Ansan – Siheung 39 km
Expressway 171 Suwon – Pangyo – Seoul 25 km
Expressway 173 Iksan-Pyeongtaek Expressway Line Pyeongtaek – Poseung 6 km
Expressway 202 Saemaengum Port Expressway Line Pohang Bypass 27 km
Expressway 204 Seamaengum – Pohang Expressway Branch Iksan – Wanju 25 km
Expressway 251 Honam Expressway Nonsan – Daejeon 54 km
Expressway 253 Gochang-Damyang Expressway Gochang – Gwangju 42 km
Expressway 255 Gangjin – Gwangju Expressway Gangjin – Gwangju 51 km
Expressway 292 Sejong – Pocheon Expressway, Osong-ji Line Jeondong – Osong 6 km
Expressway 300 Daejeon bypass 21 km
Expressway 301 Sangju – Yeongcheon Expressway Sangju – Gunwi – Yeongcheon 94 km
Expressway 400 Metropolitan Second Circular Expressway Seoul metropolitan beltway 263 km
Expressway 451 Daegu Bypass 30 km
Expressway 500 Gwangju Ring Expressway Gwangju ? km
Expressway 551 Central Expressway Branch Line Busan – Yangsan 18 km
600 expressway Busan Outer Circular Expressway Busan 48 km
Expressway 700 Daegu Outer Circular Expressway daegu 22 km
Expressways in South Korea
Expressway 1 • Expressway 10 • Expressway 12 • Expressway 14 • Expressway 15 • Expressway 16 • Expressway 17 • Expressway 19 • Expressway 20 • Expressway 25 • Expressway 27 • Expressway 29 • Expressway 30 • Expressway 32 • Expressway 35 • Expressway 37 • Expressway 40 • Expressway 45 • Expressway 50 • Expressway 52 •Expressway 55 • Expressway 60 • Expressway 65Expressway 100 • Expressway 102 • Expressway 104 • Expressway 105 • Expressway 110 • Expressway 120 • Expressway 130 • Expressway 151 • Expressway 153 • Expressway 171 • Expressway 173 • Expressway 202 • Expressway 204 • Expressway 251 • Expressway 253 • Expressway 255 • Expressway 292 • Expressway 300 • Expressway 301 • Expressway 400 •Expressway 451 • Expressway 500 • Expressway 551 • Expressway 600 • Expressway 700

History

South Korea has shown itself to be one of the fastest developing countries since the 1970s and the economic boost was reflected in the construction of the highway network. The first expressway in the country was Expressway 1, which runs 416 kilometers from Seoul to Busan. The first section of this opened on December 21, 1968, at the same time as a section of Expressway 120 in Incheon. Expressway 1 was completed in 1970. A number of single-lane branches were also constructed between 1970 and 1975. The second long-haul highway was Expressway 50 which runs east from Seoul to the east coast. Relatively few highways were built in the 1980s, but construction boomed from the mid-1990s, with 2001 being the peak year when 519 kilometers of new highways were opened.

All large and small cities are connected by highways. At the same time, a gigantic highway network of hundreds of kilometers has been built around Seoul, as the city’s population explodes, with numerous suburbs with more than 1 million inhabitants. The last section of Seoul’s ring road, the Expressway 100, was opened in 2007. The highway network is currently being expanded and is one of the most modern and densest networks in the world.

Traffic intensities

Traffic intensities are quite high around the major cities, especially in Seoul, where traffic volumes exceed 200,000 vehicles per day. The intensities are quite low around the other cities, this is also because most other South Korean cities have few or no suburbs and highways mainly go around the cities and therefore do not serve as commuter routes. The highway network is mainly built for through traffic. The intensities on the main axes are usually not very high, between 20,000 and 50,000 vehicles, on Expressway 1 even higher, where 100,000+ occurs in rural areas. In sparsely populated areas, intensities between 10,000 and 20,000 are common, occasionally lower.

Signage

The signage on the highways is with green signs and white letters, and they use a mix of European and American influences. Almost all signposts are bilingual; English and Korean. Portals often consist of several separate signs per lane, which gives a somewhat messy road image. The road number is shown in the American example in a blue shield with a red crown. The distances are in meters and kilometers, and the exit symbol is also used. Asian Highwaysare also sometimes indicated, such as the AH-1. This is in a white box with a black frame and black letters. Exit numbers are in white letters in a black box. Road signs are generally similar to those in Europe. Road names are sometimes written out in full. Major roads have a blue oval with the road number in it without a prefix.

Road numbering

Since 2001, the highways have been renumbered to a system similar to Interstate Highways in the United States. North-south roads have odd numbers, east-west roads have even numbers. Two-digit roads have national importance, three-digit roads are branches where the first two numbers correspond to the main route. Ring roads have three digits where the first digit corresponds to the local zip code. Numbers between 70 and 99 are reserved for an eventual reunification with North Korea. There is one exception, the Expressway 1 which has kept its old number as it is considered the main highway in the country.

Urban Expressways

In addition to the national Expressway network, there is also an urban Expressway network. These are located in the 5 major cities of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju and Daejeon. A number of these urban highways are also located in the Gyeonggi region, around Seoul. They are known by their name, but also have a number, which is represented in an octagonal white shield with a blue frame and blue lettering.

Main roads

South Korea has a highly developed main road network, with numerous grade separated highways with 2×2 or more lanes, sometimes running directly parallel to the toll highways. They do, however, have many more exits and fewer facilities, such as emergency lanes and filling stations directly along the road. Underlying highways can often be wide, especially on the fringes of major cities where there are six to ten lane highways. These are often ground floor.

Road numbering

The National Highways have even numbers for east-west routes and odd numbers for north-south routes. They are often longer than the highways, the longest route is Highway 5 with 1252 kilometers. There are a total of 3 National Highways over a thousand kilometers in length, including their theoretical route in North Korea. The road numbers are shown in white letters in a blue oval.

Asian Highways

Asian Highways in South Korea
AH1 • AH6

Bridges

South Korea has many bridges, especially in the coastal region where many islands are connected to each other and to the mainland. In addition, the Seoul region has a large number of bridges spanning the Han River. The concentration of bridges is particularly high in the archipelagos west and south of the coast of Korea.

South Korea Road Network